Since March 30, Palestinians living in the Gaza strip have staged demonstrations against their treatment at the hands of Israel. Gaza is home to nearly two million people, living in a region smaller than Los Angeles. Along with the West Bank, Gaza has been occupied militarily by Israel since 1967. Gaza is home to hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refugees expelled from their land that is now Israel, which was founded in 1948. Life within the territory is an open-air prison camp that is completely shut off from the rest of the world, where many live on the brink of starvation, without clean water, electricity or medical care.
The protesters have marched to the wall surrounding Gaza, insisting on conducting nonviolent protests and demanding an end to the blockade of Gaza, as well as the right of return for refugees. Men, women and children have gathered in protest, wearing costumes, dancing, and even reading books to show that their intentions are only to protest. They have been met week after week by snipers who have shot and killed 34 people, and wounded 4,279 others. Nevertheless, tens of thousands have marched every week into the shooting range of Israeli snipers.
The Palestinians in Gaza are absolutely right to protest against their imprisonment under military occupation and to demand the only possible justice – the right to return to the lands they were expelled from. Israel is supported by the United States, which provides nearly $3 billion in military aid every year in return for being an ally in U.S. domination of the Middle East. We have a responsibility in the U.S. to support the Palestinians in their struggle, and in fact we face the same forces – the rich whose government we live under and their system of exploitation and war. The protests in Gaza are an attempt to wake up the world to the situation in Palestine, and to a great degree, we are the ones whose attention they are trying to get.